Nine instances that show how our media leaves no stone unturned in filling this holy month with unholy moments.
This year, even politicians and TV show hosts have joined the fray. Let’s check out the nine unholiest moment that have happened so far this Ramazan.
9. ARY’s Ramazan song
Permissibility of music in our religion is an ongoing debate and both sides have their advocates. This is why it is jarring to see ‘Ramazan theme songs’ on various channels. One does not need songs to be reminded of the sanctity of this month and a huge portion of audiences are offended by them. They are also offensive on a deeper level. Take ARY’s song which shows its celebrities performing random acts of charity in the most patronising, condescending manner possible.
They are offering prayers, stopping their all-terrain vehicles for old men, intruding into rural households unannounced. Junaid Jamshed contorts into new and exciting shapes while seeking forgiveness. But this takes the cake:
This is the shepherd to whom Faisal Qureshi gives a lift in his Jeep. While Qureshi’s sanctimonious manner and the shepherd’s expression of giddy gratitude are depressing, take a closer look: the shepherd is in poorly applied blackface. Words fail me.
8. Ramazan ads
Can you identify this TVC screenshot?
If you said Sunsip Limu Pani, National Foods, Tang, Coca-Cola, Dalda cooking oil… you would be right! According to our ads, iftars take place in open streets and gardens, amid a sea of lanterns and lights. They look more like a valima. Why do our brands keep perpetrating this false version is beyond me. Perhaps the models look better under the lights?
7. The waist contest
Wondering why I haven’t mentioned Amir Liaquat yet? Simple – it is difficult to pick a few moments from his daily 20-hour ‘show’. Still, there is one scene I cannot get out of my head: the one where he announced that a fat person would win a prize. For being fat. How to decide? One would think a weighing machine might do the job nicely, but no - Mr Liaquat, a master of creating uncomfortable, cringe-worthy moments, whips out a measuring tape:
The contenders were rather large, so Liaquat had to wrap himself around each one to measure their waists. Forget Ramazan – this one has to be a low point in one’s very life.
6. Geo’s Ramazan song
It is no surprise that Liaquat sings and stars in Geo’s musical ode to Ramazan:
At least the man is consistent. He has long championed boots over the suits. Here he stars as a soldier who loses his life during a night shootout (holding the flag, naturally). The clip has gone viral for all the wrong reasons. Let’s just say that the comments over a picture of him lying dead are anything but charitable!
5. Ramazan donation drives
Many of our welfare institutions use donations as a lifeline; they also represent one of the best uses of Zakat. However, these ads just show hapless patients smiling with gratitude while cash/gifts are handed to them. Our religion teaches us to donate secretly; these campaigns make billboards out of patients:
The cause is noble, but I am not sure if these patients want to be remembered in this way for the rest of their lives.
4. Eye-to-eye, Angel
Tahir Shah, it seems, will do anything to be on TV, but he will have to compete with Liaquat for the stage. Two years ago, the good doctor mocked Eye-to-Eye no end.
This year, Liaquat invited Tahir Shah back to the stage to apologise and in fact, champion him. His antics during the song , are another story:
3. Demeaning women
We are back to Liaquat, since in his show the women and girls are freely flirted with and more often than not, put in awkward positions in order to win for prizes. One can always question the women’s judgment, but all the same, one does not see such humiliation on the set of any other iftaar show.
2. The Nurpur ad
Am I out of my mind, I hear you ask. Why would I list this beautiful, beautiful ad in my list of unholy moments?
The ad represents a benchmark in food photography as well as package design. Accompanied by a subdued folk soundtrack, various Nurpur dairy products dance, sway and blend into other ingredients to create a symphony of visual, oral and gastronomic splendour.
And that is precisely the problem. It is a struggle to watch this ad during the roza without having a choice word or two to say about the ad makers; why must you inflict this delicious torture on us? That’s why it ranks as the second most unholy moment!
1. Ishaq Dar’s Marie Antoinette moment
This year our politicians, clerics and public figures have seemingly sworn to steal Liaquat’s thunder. During the National Assembly session on June 18, our learned Finance Minister advised the nation to eat chicken if lentils were too expensive. Maybe Dar was ‘feeling the roza’, as they say; however, I am sure that millions of people fasting endangered theirs after hearing/reading this.
The writer is a Finance Professional by day, and moonlights as an opinionated, passionate pop culture watcher, gamer and blogger.